TASMANIAN TREASURES                    Montane Shrubs
                                                                                Part 1
                                                                               Part 2

NOTHOFAGUS GUNNII  Nothofagaceae
(Tanglefoot, Deciduous Beech)
Tanglefoot

This is well-named “Tanglefoot”  and can cause great difficulty for anyone trying to negotiate a way through because of its habit of inter-tangled branches and stems growing over rough terrain, oftensteep slopes of subalpine areas and on alpine heath of the wettest mountains in autumn when its green ribbed leaves turn vivid gold. In damp sheltered positions it takes the form of a small tree but is more usually a shrub. It flowers during summer and has separate green male flowers, while the female flowers appear to be small reddish cones. The seeds are winged. It can be germinated readily when the seed is fresh but is very difficult to grow on. A moist position is required but success is marginal below about 400 metres altitude.Growth is very slow. It does not regenerate readily after fire. Height: 1.5 to 8 metres. Location: mountains 1,000 to 1,400 metres

CYATHODES Spp - see separate item

GAULTHERIA HISPIDA  Ericaceae
(Snow Berry)

Gaultheria hispida

An attractive shrub to 2 metres. Dark green leaves with clearly visible fine veins and minute serrations giving it a bristly appearance. The flowers are white, prominent andurn-shaped,  clustered at the ends of the branches.  The spectacular fruits, comprising a swollen calyx surrounding a dry capsule which give it the common name of Snow Berry, are edible. It is generally found in the high rainfall areas of west and north-east Tasmania, and reaches up to sub-alpine areas, flowering  in spring and early summer. Seed  germinates readily but growing on is difficult, although there have been reports of growing snow berry in the mild parts of the U.K.  Makes an attractive container plant though not particularly long-lived.
 
COPROSMA QUADRIFIDA  Rubiaceae
(Native Currant)
Coprosma quadrifida

 

A prickly shrub usually under 2m tall. The leaves are up to 10mm long and 5mm wide, dull green with prominent veins when inspected closely. Male and female flowers occur on different plants. The green petals of the flowers are tiny, but the stamens and styles (in particular) are surprisingly large. The fruits are edible but rarely palatable.
Flowering period: Spring; fruiting in autumn.
Distribution: common in damp gullies, wet forest and the edge of rainforest throughout the State.
Photo: Christine Howells

 

 

The shiny orange-red fruits make a vivid  show in the autumn.  The two-seeded drupes are edible but not very palatable.The shrub is prickly and much-branched and only 1 metre tall in exposed positions. The shiny leaves are 10mm long and 5mm wide and opposite each other along the stem. Flowering is in summer and male and female flowers occur on different plants. These have small petals but large styles or stamens. Common in dolerite country up to 1200 metres, often growing amongst boulders. Despite its prickles, it is apparently very palatable to browsing animals.

   COPROSMA NITIDA   Rubiaceae
   (Mountain Currant)

Coprosma nitida

 
TASMANNIA LANCEOLATA 
Winteraceae
(Mountain Pepper)

Tasmannia lanceolata

A compact bushy shrub; young stems and leaf stalks red, leaves elliptical-oblanceolate, hairless, green and thick. Leaf length varies from 1.5cm in harsh conditions to 13cm. Male and female flowers on different plants at the base of the new season’s growth. Flowers have deciduous sepals and a variable number of yellow or cream narrow oblanceolate petals. Male flowers with many stamens; female with 2-lobed ovary creating a lustrous black berry with many small angular seeds. Although the leaves, bark and berries have an aromatic peppery taste which burns the mouth, the berries are eaten by such birds as the Black Currawong. The berries are now used in the fashionable Bush Tucker scene.Widespread from sea level to subalpine in high rainfall areas and montane grasslands. No other members of this family occur in Tasmania but are located widely around the Pacific.
(female flower)
(male flower)
 
TROCHOCARPA THYMIFOLIA    Epacridaceae

Trochocarpa thymifolia

A dense shrub about 50cm tall with bluish-purple drupes clustered at the ends of branches; white fruits are found occasionally. The specific name thymifolia means thyme-like leaves. Flowers form attractive pink  clusters, often appearing at the same time as ripe fruits from the previous season.  Flowering period is during summer. T. thymifolia occurs on scattered mountains, mainly in the central part of Tasmania and often on dolerite bouldery ground. Cultivation: cuttings strike fairly easily but growth is slow.
 
BLANDFORDIA PUNICEA  Liliaceae
(Tasmanian Christmas Bells) 
Blandfordia punicea

 

Spectacular spikes of scarlet bell-shaped flowers, each about 5 cm  long, with inner lobes edged with yellow. Long strap-like leaves, tufted at the base, are olive green but become purplish with age. Found on steep slopes among rocks on poor quartzite soils. Flowering in early summer.
 
 
 
 
 
 

Photo- K Corbett


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